It may sound unbelievable that the Gorumara island which was on the brink of being submerged has been given a new lease of life by South 24-Parganas district administration. Thanks to the state Panchayat and Rural Development department and the District Magistrate PB Salim, attempts are on to save the island by planting Vetiver grass under the Sabujayan project, launched by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The island was badly hit by high tides resulting in massive soil erosion. Due to its vulnerability no heavy construction is possible. There are around 1,200 families living there. Under Mahatma Gandhi national Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme, the residents are planting Vetiver grass under 100 days work. The grass which was brought from Tamil Nadu is used to prevent soil erosion. The root of the grass goes 20 feet below the ground. As it is very costly to bring the grass from Tamil Nadu, nurseries have been set up in Nadia and South 24 Parganas. Salim said around two lakh Vetiver saplings had been produced.
The residents of Gorumara island have not only saved the island from extinction but they are also earning their livelihood under 100 days work. It may be recalled that Chief Minister has said over and again that the poorest of the poor should be brought back to the mainstream of life.
The Nadia district administration has chalked out an elaborate scheme to plant Vetiver grass along the banks of five rivers. The grass will be planted along 743 km riverbank. Fifty three nurseries have been set up to produce the grass. P Vincent, called the Vetiver Man of South India had visited the nurseries in Nadia a few times and also visited the site. The Sabujayan project was launched in November, 2015. Once successful, the project will be replicated in other parts in the district.